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Author Topic: Help Installing a HF rig in a Caravan  (Read 520 times)
N4HRA
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Posts: 282




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« on: May 10, 2002, 12:23:25 PM »

I have a 1999 Dodge Caravan that I want to install my HF rig.
I can not find a way to get the power wires from the battery to inside the van.
The battery is located on the left side near the fire wall.
Any idea are welcome

Also since I can not mount a antenna on the bumber I am looking using a mag mount on the roof with a ham stick antenna. (good or bad idea)

Thank you
Lew
N4HRA
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KL7IPV
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Posts: 984




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« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2002, 02:47:14 AM »

I had a 1993 Caravan and had to drill a hole in the firewall and then used a grommet(s) to protect the wires going into the passenger compartment. Stay away from the lead-ins to the computer. In mine they were on the right side in the front of the passenger compartment. I mounted an Antenna Specialist's ball mount on the rear driver's side of the van for the HF antenna and used a Hustler antenna sytem with good results. I used a small mag mount 2 meter antenna on the front of the van. I made a PVC radio mount that held a TenTec Delta II and then an IC-706 between the front seats. Good luck.
73
Frank
KL7IPV
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KA0MR
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Posts: 221




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« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2002, 06:10:31 AM »

Before you install your antenna permanently find a way to temporarily install it to check all bands. My 1991 Plymouth Voyager for some reason no matter where I put the antenna except on the roof ( and that was a real problem at HF frequencies) I could not get SWR down to acceptable levels on 20 meters. Just by 2 cents.
Bob KA0MR
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K0BG
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« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2002, 09:38:15 AM »

Since you're driving a 1999 model, one can assume it's all yours. And the best solution is to ballmount the antenna as close to the top of the van as possible. Most installations I have seen, use the space just behind the rear left side window. The area underneath is easy to get to after removing the trim panel.

The suggestion about running wires through a new, grommeted hole is a good one. Just make sure you know what's on BOTH side of the hole BEFORE you drill it.

As for the high SWR, with proper matching this isn't really a problem. Except when using an autotuner like Icom's AH-4, all the other solutions require access to the base of the antenna, either to change taps on an autotransformer, or changing some other form of matching reactance. One alternative would be to use banana jacks at the base of the antenna on the outside of the mount to switch reactances. There is a good chapter in the ARRL Antenna Manual which explains these techniques very well.

Good Luck

Alan Applegate, KØBG
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K8AC
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Posts: 1477




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« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2002, 06:57:23 PM »

I use Hamsticks on the top of my Ford Windstar.  Get the brass quick disconnects that Lakeview sells for the Hamsticks to make band changes fast.   One tip I picked up at the mobile forum at the Dayton Hamvention: NEVER DRILL A HOLE IN A FIREWALL!  Always use a punch and hammer.  Much less chance of causing damage, and the punch will leave a smoother hole in the metal.  
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